20th Century Jewelry & the Icons of Style.pdf

20th Century Jewelry & the Icons of Style.pdf


For centuries the collecting of precious gems and the jewelry fashioned from them was the exclusive prerogative of kings and queens, emperors, popes, and maharajahs. In the aftermath of World War I an extraordinary group of women emerged who had the means to deck themselves in glittering bracelets, rings, necklaces, earrings, tiaras, and brooches.

This book presents eleven profiles of glamorous women who assembled these astonishing collections in the mid-twentieth century. The fall of European monarchies meant royal jewels passed into the hands of a new social elite that included figures from show business and the worlds of industry and commerce. The women of the era cut their hair, wore looser-fitting clothes, and had greater freedom than before the war. The change in fashion led to a new style of jewelry--the historic gemstones were reset and new collections created. These influential women included Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, the Duchess of Windsor, the film star Merle Oberon, and the great diva Maria Callas. There were also less well-known figures such as the mysterious and beautiful Nina Dyer, whose husbands were the Baron von Thyssen and Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. The book brings to life the worlds in which these women moved--elegant yachts, extravagant parties--and describes the details of the jewels and the jewelers (Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Harry Winston) that created the exquisite settings.


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